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Less of What We Don't Need

Stories about Less of What We Don't Need.

From Copenhagen to Delhi, 'smart cities' call for smart solutions - like cycling

Colin Todhunter

The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ...

India's cities are in crisis. They are clogged with traffic, choked with pollution, blighted by concrete flyovers, overcrowded, suffer from power and water shortages, are prone to flooding and can at times be almost unbearable to live in.

The plan to introduce 'smart cities' to India is intended to remedy many of these problems.

Basic Income, Basic Issues

Daniel Raventós & Julie Wark

Europe is an outsized indicator of the “shocking levels” of worldwide inequality. OXFAM’s September 2015 press release, “Increasing Inequality Plunging Millions More Europeans into Poverty”, makes a stark comparison between the “123 million people – almost a quarter of the EU’s population – at risk of living in poverty and its 342 billionaires”. Other reports show how, worldwide, the fortunes of the mega-rich have soared during the crisis, a situation summed up in the notorious statistic “Richest 1% Will Own More Than All the Rest by 2016”. The socioeconomic effects of this indecent inequality and how to deal with them are widely discussed and one product of the debate is a fast-expanding interest in the universal, unconditional basic income, which is usually presented as a measure for combatting poverty.

The Desperate Plight of Petrostates

Michael T. Klare

Once they were mighty, today they're in trouble! Michael T. Klare examines the fate of the "petrostate," ie; a state which funds itself primarily on oil procceds. In an age of the overproduction of that commodity leading to falling prices, facing the need to reduce consumption of fossil fuels, what were once seen as economic powerhouses are now facing economic difficulties.

This Could be the Death of the Fossil Fuel Industry - Will the Rest of the Economy Go with It?

Nafeez Ahmed

It's not looking good for the global fossil fuel industry. Although the world remains heavily dependent on oil, coal and natural gas -- which today supply around 80 percent of our primary energy needs -- the industry is rapidly crumbling.

This is not merely a temporary blip, but a symptom of a deeper, long-term process related to global capitalism's escalating overconsumption of planetary resources and raw materials.

Climate Holism vs. Climate Reductionism

Richard Heinberg

Climate change may be the biggest threat facing humanity, but the way we’re currently going about fighting it just ensures that, even if we prevail, another threat will follow, and another, and another.

To explain why, it’s helpful to review a philosophical debate that’s simmered throughout the past couple of centuries. With the advent of modern science came a general predisposition toward an attitude called “reductionism,” the essential notion being that complex phenomena can best be understood by breaking them down into their component parts. Reductionism unquestionably works in many situations. For example, we can better understand the physical attributes of many materials if we study their molecular structures and their elemental atomic constituents. Chemistry is rooted in physics, and cell biology is rooted in chemistry.

Fruit Walls: Urban Farming in the 1600s

Kris de Decker

We are being told to eat local and seasonal food, either because other crops have been tranported over long distances, or because they are grown in energy-intensive greenhouses. But it wasn't always like that. From the sixteenth to the twentieth century, urban farmers grew Mediterranean fruits and vegetables as far north as England and the Netherlands, using only renewable energy.

With Some Tar Sands Oil Selling at a Loss, Why is Production Still Rising?

Phil McKenna

Canadian oil producers can’t address the downturn by slowing production without huge losses, so they now sell at a loss economically and for the climate.


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